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General Writing and Grammar Help/How can I be expressive again? :)


Dear Mr. Clayborn,

Hope this e-mail finds you well. I have a very sticky situation that I think you can definitely help with!

I've been trying to get back into writing because it's one of my favourite getaways. However, I've been hitting terrible blocks only because I'm never able to pen down my thoughts.

It isn't that I don't know what I want to say or that I have no idea what I want to write about. I've noticed that my problem is I am unable to actually express myself - like I can't actually write anymore. Does that make sense?

In the past I used to write very freely and easily. Now that I'm getting back into my writing I'm unable to be like that again.

Like no matter what thoughts I have in my head, recite out loud or force myself to write nothing comes out. I guess you can say I'm like a dry well? I don't know actually, but what I do know is a lot of people tend to hit this wall and so you can definitely shed some light on this.

How can I write again?

If you'd like further information of my habits when it comes to writing:

* I like to read a lot of books - both online fiction and actual books.

* I'm the type to plan out very large projects, though sometimes I can easily go with the flow without thinking about it (a lot of my previous work used to be this way - it was very easy to write fluidly).

* I do try writing exercises (like making use of prompts so I can get myself into writing) but when I do actually try to write out a piece I want later on I just can't

* I recite my thoughts or act it out but I can't pen them down - they aren't like how I want them to be. Like I have the idea in mind, I know what I want it to be/sound like, I can envision it like a movie but I can't actually write it out?

* I do change venues as much as I can - so I write in my room, sister's room, the garden, out at a cafe, etc. But to no avail.

* I've tried doing the timer method but actually I just stare at the screen still - nothing comes out

It's kind of funny despite being frustrating.

What can I do to get back into writing again and being able to express myself?

I really am afraid that I can no longer write and I've lost the passion and flair for it - writing is one of the very few treasures of joy I have and if I've lost it...well, the idea is really depressing and sad.

Thank you for your time :)

I hope your answers can help me and help out others who go through this annoying point

Hi Susan,

I can certainly relate to this. I went through something very similar in my past as well. Although, in my case my hindrance with writing came about because I worked for some time as a technical writer and was forced to alter my tone and prose to fit a specific set of requirements. After doing that for so long I lost my ability to write creatively...for a while.

Writing is one of those special gifts; in a lot of ways it's kind of like love, the more you look for it or try to force it, the worse it turns out. Each person has a different motivation for writing, a different spark fueled by a different reason. Part of resolving your difficulty is by reflecting upon what ignites your spark. Are you writing because you want to be a famous author? Do you simply enjoy writing for sake of telling stories for others' amusement? Or do you enjoy writing simply because you enjoy writing? Understanding what burns your spark to begin with will go a long way in re-cultivating it.

Now, with regards to getting your writing juices flowing again, I have several ideas. Several people I know carry around a Blackberry or other type of smart phone simply because they can have applications like "Word to Go" installed on them. Then, whenever you have a thought, whenever the mood strikes you, you can write down something in your phone.

Another technique that is sometimes helpful is to carry around a voice recorder. Instead of typing or writing your story, try telling it to yourself or a friend verbally. Record your conversation and then transcribe what you said. (Or, if you have something like Dragon speech-recognition software it can automatically type it for you).

Writing impulsively and writing with a pre-made plan is simply a matter of choice and preference. I personally have everything mapped out before I even start writing and I have lots of tips and tools on how to keep your writing notes organized. But, I'll save that for another time.

I hope that this advice helps. If you have further questions please feel free to ask.

Kind Regards,

General Writing and Grammar Help

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Johnathan Clayborn


I can answer a broad range of questions about both academic and creative writing. I can answer questions about APA format, research and references, essay structure and more. I am particularly helpful in the areas of character development, storyline development, etc. and I can provide authors with an array of tools to help them organize their work.


I minored in English for my Bachelor's degree. I have also written several books and I run a small publishing company (before you ask, we're not accepting submissions at this time). I have written both fiction and non-fiction books and I have been published in newspapers and written articles for major internet websites.

Alpha Chi, Psi Chi, Kappa Delta Pi, APA

MS, Educational Psychology, BS Psychology (English minor)

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